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Canadian military commander gets life for killing two women

By Paula Newton, CNN
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A killer's confession
  • Col. Russell Williams will serve at least 25 years before being eligible for parole
  • Judge in the case calls the crimes "depraved"
  • Williams has held powerful positions in Canada's air force

Ottawa, Ontario (CNN) -- Highly decorated Canadian military commander Col. Russell Williams was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences Thursday for the murders of two women, several sexual assaults and dozens of so-called fetish burglaries.

Williams, 47, will serve a minimum of 25 years before being eligible for parole. Justice Robert Scott called the crimes "depraved" and described Williams as a sick and dangerous man.

The double life of the colonel has shocked even his closest friends and family. A sobbing Williams addressed the court on Thursday to apologize.

"I have committed despicable crimes ... betraying my family, my friends and colleagues and the Canadian Forces. I shall spend the rest of my life regretting that I have ended two vibrant, innocent and cherished lives." Williams said in a slow speech as he sobbed.

Williams told the victims' families he pleaded guilty to spare them more pain and suffering.

Video: Military officer admits to murder
Video: Colonel's double life of sex, murder
  • Murder and Homicide
  • Canada
  • Crime

For three days, the Ontario courtroom heard prosecutors present evidence that included the dying pleas of the two slain women. Williams methodically saved and catalogued hundreds of photos, videos and hundreds of pieces of lingerie as "trophies" of his crimes, prosecutors said.

In sentencing Williams, the judge said Williams may best be described as Canada's bright shining lie. The colonel held some of the most sensitive and powerful positions in Canada's air force, including piloting Queen Elizabeth II across Canada during one of her official visits.

His double life apparently shocked even his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, who stated in court documents that she has been devastated by his crimes. Williams was arrested in February after being pulled over at a police roadblock near the home of 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd, one of his victims. The other slain woman was Marie France Comeau, 37.

Lloyd's family was in court for most of the week's proceedings. Her mother often arrived clutching a photograph of her daughter. She told Canadian media on Thursday that she felt justice had been served.